SPOOKSTERS OF MAGIC PAST AND PRESENT
Houdini Seance 1936
by Eddie Clever
Reprint from 1936 Tops Magazine
Seances held simultaneously in various parts of the country on October 31st were all to no avail. Harry Houdini did not speak. Theo. Hardeen, brother of Houdini, at New York, Harry Cecil at Detroit, and the patient widow, herself, at Los Angeles, conducted large seances. Houdini's admirers and friends over the nation joined their pleas with those of the leaders of the major seances.
But no voice came from the Great Beyond.
Since Harry Houdini's death ten years ago, Mrs. Houdini has kept a light burning continuously over a picture of her husband. At the close of the seance on this Halloween night, exactly ten years after his death, Mrs. Houdini, in despair, turned out the light.
Of course, Houdini lives on, in the minds and hearts of all lovers of magic and of all laymen who ever were fortunate enough to come into contact with his vibrant and dynamic personality. But that is small consolation for the hopeful woman who has for so long anticipated some word from him. The ten years have passed-those ten years during which Mrs. Houdini felt certain that her husband would communicate with her. And Mrs. Houdini has turned out the light - the light over his picture and the light of her hope.
A year later this article was written on this subject by Eddie Clever
Night-deep, dark, dismal-night.
Darkness, creeping, crawling, twisting, whirling over the earth. Night, darkness, mysteryŚnight of mysteries has enveloped and cloaked the earth in a mantle of blackness. The night whefn the pit lets loose, and the forces of darkness hold sway. Night of ghosts, spirits and weird creatures of the "black."
Who can deny that at least one spirit is not active on this night. Unseen ,yet sensed, pulsating, vibrating, motivating the strangest requiem ever held.
The world encircled by thought, held in the grip of darkness, silently, watchful groups raise their voices calling, pleading, entreating. Silence answers in Silence. Heads bowed in solemn defeat, eyes cast downward.
Silence, deathly Silence.
Screaming headlines blare forth the following morning.
"HOUDINI SEANCES A FAILURE DEAD MAGICIAN FAILS TO RETURN"
In my October article for 1936 predicted that the Houdini seances would bring negative results! I take no credit for being a prophet. Any skeptic could have predicted as much.
If the soul survives the shock known as death, then it must exist somewhere, some place. Granting that it does survive; I doubt if the methods employed to recall it are of the right nature. The modern seances are no further advanced than the exorcisms of the heathen or the Voodoo doctors of Haiti.
In a public statement the rightly crowned "Queen of Magic," Mrs, Houdini, said: "Since the failure of the ten year test, it is my opinion that all concerned have struck a mighty world-wide blow at superstition." Is the belief in the survival of the soul superstition or is it a deep rooted conviction that death is not the finish! ! !
In my talks with a great many spiritualists, I have been told of various reasons as to why Houdini's spirit did not come back. These reasons are too complex and complicated to go into here. However the final word on mind, matter and the soul has not been said. THE MOST PROFOUND TRUTHS ARE STILL TO BE LEARNED! Perhaps man is not yet ready for the GREAT TRUTHS OF NATURE!
Houdini during his life fought fortune tellers, spirit mediums and all manner of miracle mongers. Whether Houdini was sincere in this or did it for publicity is a matter of opinion. Regardless of this, Houdini to me is an idol.
In spite of Houdini there are today many more of these so-called fakers than in his day. Magicians attempting to imitate Houdini are still fighting forces of what they call evil.
Why magicians should expose spirit mediums is more than I can understand. There is plenty of dirt to be swept from the doors of magic! I too, at one time thought I would be a great benefactor of mankind and expose spiritualism. I learned to my humiliation that I was making a fool of myself. It is now my conviction that persons who are willing to throw away good money on fortune tellers, spirit mediums, etc.; SHOULD LOOSE THEIR MONEY! ! I have no sympathy for this type of person! Many of the magicians who attempt to expose mediums are no more fitted to do so, than they are to present magic! There are no doubt a few actuated by ulterior motives; who are sincere. But it seems the desire to get one's name in the papers is greater than the desire to rid society of fakers! The most of the mediums I have met are NOT "dumb-bells" and some of these exposers could learn a lot from them when it comes to dramatic presentation! Most medium's tricks are simple. They do not devise methods to fool each other. Their sole aim is to fool and convince their followers. A MAGICIAN CANNOT EXPOSE MEDIUMS WITHOUT EXPOSING SOME OF THE MOST SUBTLE SECRETS OF MAGIC AND MIND-READING!
The true scientist may not be a good investigator of mediums, but he at least THINKS and weighs each bit of evidence. He does not throw up his hands and cry, "Fraud and Fake," merely because he can do a few puzzles with string or knows how to fan a deck of cards so they look like the rear wheel of an ox cart! ! !
Rubbing Stearate of Zinc on cards does not make one an investigator of psychic phenomena!
Spirit mediums, should no more be persecuted, arrested and fined than any other money begging religions. Many churches of today exact a toll, especially on the poorer and less learned classes. The WISE founders and leaders of all religions taught a greater TRUTH than that of passing the collection plate. Neither the bigotry of the Middle Age church, the fundamentalism of the Puritans or the commercialized church of today follows the teachings of these leaders!
The story of the "Widows Mite" has been perverted and made into a sales talk rather than an illustration of gratitude and faith! Perhaps I have strayed from the subject, but down thru the ages the priestcraft and magic have come hand in hand. Education is the only thing which will teach the masses the differences between truth and fakery. But education is NOT getting one's name in the paper at another's expense. Houdini is to me the GREAT SHOWMAN. I honor his memory, and like to think of him as a MASTER MAGICIAN However I do not believe he was justified in his attacks on spiritualism. But to me he was a MAN. And in closing may I say, I am neither a spiritualist nor believer in spiritualism. But I am an enemy of exposing and I have NEVER SEEN AN EXPOSE OF ANY SORT WHICH DID NOT EXPOSE SECRETS OF MAGIC, AND MANY TIMES VITAL SECRETS!
Editors note: Houdini poster set with 5 different posters available at Abbott Magic .
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